Priest accused of sexual abuse served in the Tennessee Valley

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – After weeks of pushing for new information, WHNT News 19 finally has some answers about a priest named on a list released by the Diocese of Birmingham back in December. The list names several priests accused of sexually abusing minors.

The list covers priests who served from the mid-1950s to the early 2000s.

The Diocese didn’t identify where the priests served, but after weeks of pushing,  WHNT News 19 has  finally learned that Kevin Cooke served right here in the Tennessee Valley.

According to the Diocese, Cooke was originally assigned to Our Lady Valley in Birmingham in 1978-80.

Here’s a look at where he served after that assignment:

  • 1980-86: St. Ann’s in Decatur
  • 1986-96: Tuscaloosa, Jacksonville, and Gadsden
  • 1996-2000: Our Lady of the Valley in Fort Payne
  • 2000: Gadsden
  • 2002: St. Joseph in Florence
  • The diocese says he was removed from the ministry that same year

Cooke isn’t the only accused priest who has ties to North Alabama.

We previously reported Charles v. Cross began his clergy career as an assistant at Holy Spirit Church in Huntsville in 1967.

The Diocese stated Cross served at Holy Spirit for a little over a year before becoming a chaplain at Saint Margaret Hospital in Montgomery.

The Diocese of Birmingham has said before it believes the list of accused priests is complete. However, they ask anyone who may have information to come forward.

Church officials added they will not tolerate such sexual abuse and continue to remain vigilant on the issue.

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